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Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker and BBC director-general Tim Davie© Provided by The i

BBC boss Tim Davie is facing a “test of leadership” after Gary Lineker appeared to endorse a claim that Israel has committed “genocide” in Gaza, insiders said.

BBC staff expressed anger after the BBC’s highest-paid star shared an interview with academic Raz Segal, who said of Israel’s actions in Gaza: “What we’re seeing in front of our eyes is a ‘textbook case’ of genocide.” 

Lineker told his 8.7 million followers on Twitter/X that the full video was “worth 13 minutes of anyone’s time”.

A BBC newsroom source said: “It’s an inflammatory video for someone of Gary’s prominence to share at a time when Jewish people are feeling threatened.”

A senior news insider said: “This is now a test of leadership for Tim (Davie, director-general). Gary believes he can say whatever he wants because the executives are too weak to rein him in.”

Another senior journalist said: “It’s frustrating for the rest of us and incredibly unhelpful for Tim Davie. He should be told to cut it out.”

The issue could be raised at next month’s BBC Board meeting, due to be attended by Davie, understands.

It comes as bosses are believed to be discussing an extension of Lineker’s £1.35m Match of the Day deal, with the broadcaster set to secure Premiership highlights for a further four years.

 

Lineker, briefly suspended over a tweet likening the Government’s language around asylum seekers to 30s Germany, which the BBC said breached impartiality rules, believes he has done nothing wrong.

Under new social media rules, he is allowed to tweet political opinions, provided he does not attack political parties and respects “standards of civility in public discourse.”

However, the rules also require BBC figures to “take particular care when commenting on the issues that provoke the greatest debate.”

An ally of Lineker’s said the presenter was preparing for Saturday’s Match of the Day as usual.

He does not expect any further discussion within the BBC over the post, since he believes it was within the impartiality guidelines.

Whilst Lineker’s freelancing on current affairs annoys BBC journalists who operate under stringent impartiality rules, he is still seen as an important asset by executives. 

Barbara Slater, the BBC’s director of sport, this week told MPs: “Gary knows the guidelines… we love Gary and Gary loves the BBC.”

Lineker shared an interview with Israeli-American historian Segal, originally posted by Guardian columnist Owen Jones.

Segal criticised senior Israelis who have likened the Hamas attacks on October 7, in which more than 1,200 people were killed, to the Holocaust.

He set out what constituted genocide according to a United Nations definition, and said he believed Israel’s actions matched that definition.

Stephen Pollard, editor-at-large of The Jewish Chronicle, accused Lineker of showing “universe-bending ignorance.”

He wrote: “Lineker said not a word when 1,200 Jews were murdered by Hamas, when women were raped, babies burned and some 240 hostages taken.”

The BBC has rejected complaints over a Lineker post on November 3 which read: “Marching and calling for a ceasefire and peace so that more innocent children don’t get killed is not really the definition of a hate march.” 

Presenters are “free to express opinions about the issues that matter to them”, including issues of public debate, the BBC said.

The BBC declined to comment on Lineker’s latest post or say whether any action will follow. Representatives of Lineker were approached for comment.  By Adam Sherwin, The I

Responding to a vote at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) today in favour of internationalizing cooperation on tax and working towards a tax treaty, Amnesty International's Advisor on Taxation and Human Rights, Riva Jalipa, said: 

"Hundreds of billions of dollars are being lost annually to aggressive tax avoidance and evasion by companies and individuals, hampering the ability of states to maximize their resources to fulfil their human rights obligations, and disproportionately harming the poorest and most vulnerable in societies. 

"This vote is a critical step towards much-needed reform of the international tax system and paves the way for an international treaty which is urgently needed to address the estimated US$500 billion every year lost globally to tax abuse. 

"A treaty should ultimately generate more resources for development and climate finance, for recovering and returning stolen assets, and for improving public institutions. Without it, tax evasion and avoidance will continue to have a corrosive effect on societies, eroding trust, undermining financial integrity, the rule of law and sustainable development. 

"Amnesty International reiterates its call to place human rights at the heart of any international tax reform process and eventual treaty. This will ensure that states' existing human rights obligations both guide and inform the negotiations and the outcome."  

Background 

The resolution passed by states at the UNGA second committee calls for a two-step process to negotiate a UN Framework Convention on International Tax Cooperation. It was proposed by Nigeria, and backed overwhelmingly, despite opposition from some higher income states including the United States and the United Kingdom.

Firstly, a committee will agree terms of reference for negotiating a convention, which will be finalized by autumn 2024. In the second stage, a treaty text will be negotiated. The resolution agreed to take into account the needs, priorities and capacities of all countries, in particular developing countries and countries in special situations. 

Although a tax agreement was secured through the auspices of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2021, both the process and outcomes have been insufficiently inclusive and fair, especially with respect to non-OECD member countries.

 

November 22, 2023 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir agreed with Sudan’s Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) to establish a joint committee to coordinate efforts to end the war and bring peace to Sudan.

The visiting FFC delegation to South Sudan met on Wednesday with President Salva Kiir Mayardit, in the presence of Presidential Advisor for Security and Political Affairs, Tut Tut Gatluak, Ministers of Presidential Affairs, Barnabas Merial Benjamin, and the Investment Ministers, Dhieu Mathok, and the Deputy Foreign Minister, Ramadan Mohamed Abdallah.

In a statement after the meeting, the FFC said that they briefed Kiir about their vision, which emphasizes the importance of stopping the war as a top priority and finding a comprehensive and just political solution that leads to a single national and professional army, democratic civilian rule, and sustainable peace.

The meeting agreed to establish a joint committee, comprising representatives from both the FFC and the South Sudan Mediation Committee for Peace in Sudan. This committee is tasked with facilitating communication, follow-up, and coordination.

President Salva Kiir has been actively involved in regional efforts to end the war in Sudan, participating in initiatives such as the IGAD Quartet. His recent agreement with President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi during a visit to Cairo underscores the commitment of both countries to contribute to efforts to end the conflict.

It should be noted that the FFC sent a letter to the Chairman of the Sovereign Council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, on November 18, requesting to meet with him as soon as possible.

They said they have a draft of a road map to end the war that they want to discuss with him and develop together to reach a Sudanese solution to end the war and establish sustainable peace and a democratic civil transition.

In a separate statement, the South Sudanese presidency revealed that during the meeting, the FFC delegation urged President Kiir to intensify his mediation efforts, citing his extensive knowledge and relationships with Sudanese leaders. FFC member Sadiq al Mahdi expressed confidence that President Kiir would play a crucial role in bringing together the warring factions.

The meeting centred on mechanisms to end the war, based on the outcomes of the Cairo Summit, and outlined steps to unify political and civil forces in Khartoum. Additionally, the meeting delved into initiatives proposed by neighbouring countries to stop the conflict in Sudan, added the South Sudanese presidency. - Sudan Tribune

(ST)

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